January 13, 2013 at 8:20 pm #3828
Hi all. My husband and I have been planning to move out of London for a while but are really struggling with where to go (hence I have already posted a few times about various places on this site)! We are starting to narrow it down a bit in that my husband has got a job in Woking (and we still want to move somewhere commutable in to central London), so we probably need to go for Surrey . At the moment we are torn between Farnham and Reigate. Anyone have any thoughts on either of these places (especially re schools, restaurants / things to do, house prices)? or any other recommendations? We wouldn’t really want to go anywhere smaller than that size town, but are pretty open to suggestions apart from that requirement! Thanks very much in advance.January 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm #3849
Hi Lucy. We have lived in Reigate for four years now, but in Surrey for 10, and whilst I do not know the Farnham/Woking/Guildford side, I’m very much in love with Reigate and East Surrey. Reigate is a lovely town with so much to do. OK, there may be an over index of restaurants vs bars, but having just had a baby (he’s six months), it’s VERY family friendly. Schools are excellent, and a good mix of Private and State, with Reigate Grammar consistently performing, and Dunotter Girls also scoring highly. Depending on where in Reigate you are too (and unfortunately, that’s important) the primary schools are good as well. As with a lot of towns there are better areas to be in that others within the RH2 postcode, and also unfortunately, a house in the “right” area comes at a price. House prices are ridiculous, and there really isn’t much value – but I guess you get what you pay for – Priory Park is wonderful, and has within the last three years had a major lottery-funded investment, and walks up on the North Downs are stunning. My Husband and I both work in the City, so for us the commute is just fine. I’m guessing that your husband will be driving to Woking, again, easily reached on the dreaded M25, or the back way on the A25 to Dorking. not really sure what else to say. We love living here, and feel very lucky to be able to.January 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm #3850
We live in Farnham. I grew up in the town and moved back here from London 4 years ago. We love the town, have made some great friends as well as seeing more of old friends. My husband commutes daily and I do once a week and the journey into Waterloo is pretty good plus you can get to M3/A3/M25 very quickly. Schools are good but if you are thinking of state schools then depending on the age of your child you need to be careful at the moment as the most popular school South Farnham has just last week released plans for a new admissions procedure for 2014 entry which is quite radically different to the previous years. The school is split on two sites and from 2014 it will depend on how close you live to either site not just the infant site. No one knows how close as yet and indeed the plan is still at consultation stage. There is a lot of uncertainly especially as the plan also involves removing one of the current infant feeder schools into the South Farnham Junior section at age 7. We have friends who have given up trying to guess where to live to get a place at South Farnham and moved to Bentley, Rowledge, Frensham or Crondall to access very good primary schools there. If you go to church there are some very good CofE schools as well which widens your options. House prices peak around the station which is also close to the South Farnham junior site and in the village of Lower Bourne close to the South Farnham infant site. There are two really lovely prep schools and a refreshingly different all-through private school in Farnham/surrounding villages but loads of children end up going to the Guildford/Farnborough private schools at 11+ or the local academy Weydon has an outstanding status. Going out – there are a good range of restaurants in town although mostly chains Chimichanga, PizzaExpress, Zizzi, Prezzo etc but lots of lovely pubs in the surrounding villages. Alice Holt Forest is 5 minutes by car and is just great for taking the kids to at the weekend. Guildford not far and you can get down to the big new retail parks at Portsmouth and Southampton within the hour too. We do love it here. I think Surrey has some lovely areas – we thought about Reigate/Dorking/Haslemere and Godalming and really liked all of them but my history here and fact grandparents are here made the choice quite easy in the end for us. If you would like more info on the schools stuff happy to help if you tell me whereabouts in Farnham you were thinking of moving to.January 16, 2013 at 4:26 pm #3851
Hi, I was born & raised just outside Reigate and have lived in Surrey all my life, often visiting Reigate – in fact took my mum & sis to the Vintage Tea room there on Saturday! Anyway, it’s a lovely place with Priory Park having events on and a good park and facilities – tennis courts, skate ramps, cafe, climbing & swings, pond, woods and more! It’s near the M25 and Gatwick so great for transport, but not sure how well the trains go to London – you’d have to check. Also, my friends had difficulty finding nursery place and it was expensive so not sure on numbers for school places. You might want to check that out.January 16, 2013 at 5:14 pm #3852
Hi Lucy, I work for Jackson-Stops & Staff in Dorking & as we cover Reigate know the area pretty well. From a personal point of view, I also can vouch for moving out in this direction as I moved out of SW London 13 years ago to live in Dorking after our first son was born, and have never looked back! I can agree wholeheartedly about the comments from Wendy & Erin, Reigate is a great place to live for all the reasons stated – the schools, the park, the local area etc. Could you also consider Dorking? Train times to Woking are between 35-45 mins depending on stops. It’s not quite as large as Reigate but the schools here are also very good & there are plenty of restaurants, wine bars, coffee shops etc. How old are your children? If small, the pre-schools & playgroups are a great way to meet knew people and get to know the area.
Reigate tends to be slightly more expensive than Dorking in terms of property, but as it is larger there will be more available to you to choose from. What sort of house would you be looking for? I am very happy to chat this through with you and give you some help.
The countryside around Dorking & Reigate is beautiful and I feel lucky to be able to live here & bring up my sons here… we are spoilt for choice for walking, cycling, running in the Surrey Hills.
Sorry I can’t help with Farnham! Best of luck deciding which to go for & as I said, very happy for you to call myself, or anyone else at JSS Dorking for any advice.
CorinneJanuary 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm #3853
Hi I live in Guildford but know Farnham and Reigate very well. Both have lovely town centres and are comparable in terms of shops and restaurants. Both towns have some of the best parks in Surrey (Reigate – Priory Park and Farnham – Farnham Park and Alice Holt). Both very family orientated towns so lots of club classes to choose from. Frigate is very handy for a day at the Sussex coast and also for M25. I’m no it sure I’d fancy a drive to and from Reigate and Woking every day, from that point of view Farnham is probably easierJanuary 16, 2013 at 5:46 pm #3854
I moved to Reigate from Balham around 5 years ago. I worked in Kingston when I first moved but now commute into Farringdon from Reigate station which is really very easy and compared to many commuter towns very reasonably priced.
Personally I love it, we settled very quickly, you can be pretty self-sufficient using the shops in Reigate with maybe a couple of trips to Bluewater per year to get the stuff that just isn’t there.
The state schools are outstanding. I have one son at Priory which I can only say exceptional things about, one at Holmesdale which has its faults but all in all is more than above average and a daughter at the High street Playgroup where all three of them have been and is really a lovely loving place to be. I am also happy with the state school options at secondary level in Reigate and St.Bede’s although as has been said already there are decent private options as well. The town also has thriving well-supported sports, arts, music and creative clubs for kids.
I’m a cyclist and it has fabulous nearby country for both mountain and road-biking with Box and Leith Hills in easy striking distance. The huge expanse of nearby greenbelt and the Surrey Hills means that there’s also great walking and running without having to drive anywhere.
There are also a lot of great pubs both in Reigate and in the surrounding 3 to 5 mile Radius, including the Dolphin in Betchworth, the Chequers in Tadworth, The sportsman in Mogador, The Skimmington Castle on Reigate Heath and many more. There are a good range of restaurants although they can be a little pricey at times and this is where the downside comes. It’s not a cheap place to live, it’s a very affluent area and that is reflected in the type of retail establishments that are there. The other thing is culturally, it is a little homogeneous, it’s a typical white middle class enclave with little diversity, that’s something I took a while getting used to coming from London as I was used to a big range of things to do, which isn’t there, but I guess that’s the price of living in suburbia and we’re within an hour’s striking distance of London so that’s where we head when we want that.January 18, 2013 at 8:48 am #3864
Thanks so much to everyone for such useful and comprehensive replies – it is very much appreciated. It is reassuring that people are so positive about both places (and Dorking, which is on the radar!) so we know that we won’t go badly wrong whichever one we choose. Guess it’s now just about finding the balance between affordability and decent areas for schools – not so different from London then…!June 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm #5351
Hi Lucy. I’m new here, and know all the areas mentioned above very well, so am curious to know where you ended up!June 12, 2013 at 7:27 am #5436
Both the places are good to be at, but i would prefer Reigate.Lots of things going on for kids, good restaurants, Priory Park is amazing and cost effective housing. One of the big bad thing to live at this place is most trains you need to change in Redhill to get anywhere.June 12, 2013 at 8:09 pm #5437
Where to live in ChessingtonJune 13, 2013 at 10:00 am #5447
Blaise, we ended up in Farnham – have been here 4 weeks tomorrow – and things going well so far. Just reread Ruth’s post re schools with great interest as we have ended up in Lower Bourne and it sounds like we won’t make it into the local school after all – but other than that, we’re very happy with our move, and really enjoying all the outdoorsy-ness there is on offer. And everyone is so friendly!June 13, 2013 at 10:51 am #5449
Glad to hear you made it to Lower Bourne (am guessing you are the same Lucy that posted about nursery schools on a different thread??) and that you are enjoying it! Re: schools – there is a rumour of an extra class at the village school from next year but not definite yet. Whereabouts are you? We are near the Spotted Cow (if you’ve made it there yet – lovely pub garden) and about 5 mins walk from the Green. If you fancy meeting up anytime let me know – my two are 3.5 and 2.June 13, 2013 at 9:02 pm #5462
Hi Ruth, tried to PM you but don’t think it worked? We are v close – on Pine Grove – would be great to meet up and get your insider knowledge!June 13, 2013 at 9:14 pm #5463
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